National Writing Project

Helping Children Learn to Write

Helping Children Learn to Write

Writing project teachers have assembled a handbook for parents, now available in English, Spanish, Korean, Dari/Farsi, Vietnamese, and Russian. The tips below suggest what a parent or teacher can do to encourage writing. The handbook also describes how to make each tip work. For information about the handbook, please visit the California Writing Project website.

  • Exchange Post-it® notes with your children. Put the notes on pillowcases or mirrors, or in lunch boxes, books, or any surprise location.
  • Help children assemble photo albums of family events and write captions for the photos.
  • Ask children to put their wishes and wants into writing and to suggest how they may work toward or contribute to getting what they want.
  • Help children create a family newsletter or website to share with family members near and far.
  • Suggest that your children write postcards to themselves when they are away from home. When they receive their own postcards in the mail, they will have a souvenir of their trip.
  • Make writing practical and useful by having children write grocery and task lists, reminders and phone messages, instructions for caring for pets, or directions for getting to the park.
  • Ask children to find a "golden line" in their reading—a sentence that especially attracts them and makes them aware of what clever or colorful writing looks like.

Other Web Resources

¡Colorín Colorado!

Offered in English and Spanish, this website provides parents with information on how to help their children become more successful students. It includes tips on reading and writing, activities for children, and other resources.

Reading Is Fundamental

The Reading Is Fundamental website offers educators and parents a variety of resources to promote literacy, including tips on motivating children to read.


"Tensing Up: Moving from Fluency to Flair"

The Quarterly of the National Writing Project, Volume 23, Number 3.

Ten Ideas that Get Kids Writing

National Writing Project, May 2003.

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